India’s microfinance industry registered a 31 per cent jump in its loan portfolio to Rs 2.36 lakh crore for 2019-20 and expects to post a moderate growth of about 15 per cent in the current financial year, an industry report said on Monday.
Despite the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the last quarter of the financial year 2019-20, the country’s microfinance industry grew 31 per cent, industry representative Sa-Dhan said.
According to Sa-Dhan’s ‘Bharat Microfinance Report 2020’, the industry’s loan portfolio outstanding as on March 31, 2020, had stood at Rs 2,36,427 crore.
The year-on-year growth of loan outstanding in 2019-20 was 31 per cent, which is substantially lower than the growth of 41 per cent in 2018-19.
The decline in growth rate is attributed to natural disasters that wreaked havoc in Odisha, Kerala and West Bengal, spread of misinformation and false rumours by vested interest political groups in certain districts of Assam and Karnataka, it said.
Of the total portfolio, 32 per cent is from NBFC-MFIs, while banks and small finance banks (SFBs) together contributed to 59 per cent of the portfolio.
The year-on-year growth of the portfolio is 38 per cent for NBFC-MFIs, 24 per cent for banks and 34 per cent for SFBs.
NBFC-MFIs have grown loan accounts by 26 per cent and average ticket size by 9 per cent, Sa-Dhan said.
The data has been collated from 252 lenders, including microfinance institutions, not-for-profit microfinance institutions, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), SFBs and banks.
“While the year started on a positive note, the looming large of the pandemic in the last quarter of fiscal 2019-20 threw a dampener on our projected growth,” said Sa-Dhan Executive Director P Satish.
He added that despite unprecedented challenges, the industry is expected to grow but more modestly this year at around 15 per cent, given that the first two quarters saw much-reduced activity (repayments and fresh disbursements) due to the lockdown and ensuing moratorium.
Mid- and small-scale MFIs have also been severely affected with a liquidity squeeze and high cost of funds, he said.
Releasing the report, NABARD Chairman G R Chintala said, “Despite all odds, the microfinance sector works with resilience to bring the financially underserved in the ambit of financial inclusion. To create sustainable business models by micropreneurs, there is a need to increase financial outlays.”
Chintala added that NABARD has zeroed in on various key interventions, including creation of livelihood enhancement funding, setting up of joint liability groups, augmenting social enterprise, and easing of loan woes of small MFIs to enable financial inclusion for the underserved by 2025.